Now that summer is officially here, it’s time to break out your style palette that’s more liberated and laid-back. You can easily get away with garb and accessories that are more colorful, playful, and adventurous than those you might choose during the colder months of the year. It’s not just shoes, pants, and shirts that get freshened up for the season. You can do the same with your timepiece. An orange-dialed dive watch might not be de rigueur for winter, but you can absolutely pull it off during the dog days of summer without thinking twice about it.
When it comes to a great summer watch, there are a few criteria that can be employed separately or together. First, the dial. Many watchmakers are issuing orange, yellow, light blue, and white versions of their staple models. These watches deviate nicely from the blacks, blues, and greys that you’re used to.
From summer vacations, beach outings, backyard barbecues, and lighthearted weddings, there are great summer watches for every guy. Here are our twelve choices for the best summer watches.
The Best Watches for Summer
The fresh Endeavor is brightly colored titanium wrist candy that’s just as light in weight as it is in attitude. The RZE Endeavor’s dial jumps from the already bright silver and angular case, and just looking at it might cool you off. The eggshell blue dial equates to chillin’ throughout the summer months, and the titanium gets ULTRAHex coated for extra surface hardness when you’re bouncing around on your warm-weather travels. The dial gets a sand texture, and the screw-down crown is detailed with a reverse engraved RZE logo. Details like rugged VITON gaskets, 200-meters of water resistance, and a mechanical automatic movement communicate that it’s more than just for looks.
Buy Now $499
Oris ProPilot X Calibre 400
One of Oris’s latest might just be the ideal summer watch. The new model showcases a bright, light red dial that borders on pinkish-orange. It’s vivid and has a nice abraded texture that imbues the watch with personality. The lightweight titanium case and bracelet make hot-weather wear much easier, and the 39mm case is perfectly sized. We love the unique turbine fixed bezel and the angular lugs that nicely deviate from the norm. 5 days of power reserve from the premium Calibre 400 automatic movement means you won’t have to move much at all this summer.
Buy Now $4,300
Farer has become one of the darlings of the microbrand watch set, and it’s obvious why. The Thurso pulls off summer with teal, orange, red, and white for a super-vivid colorway that’s perfect for a summer cookout. The bright mint green Super-LumiNova lume on the thick hands and markers equate to easy legibility when the sun goes down late. It’s powered by a Swiss Made Sellita SW220-1 movement and capped off with AR-coated sapphire glass. The 200-meter depth rating means the surf and the waves might come calling.
Buy Now $995
Breitling Endurance Pro
If you buy this sun-colored monster, you’d better engage in some serious summer activities. The Endurance Pro features its Breitlight case that’s substantially lighter than titanium, and it also has non-magnetic, hypoallergenic, anti-corrosive, and thermally stable properties. It can handle way more than you can throw at it, so to speak. The chronograph movement is the Caliber 82, a COSC-certified quartz movement with tremendous accuracy, so you can clock your beach sprints to the beer cooler with precision.
Buy Now $3,300
Momentum Watch Aquamatic IV
If you want a watch that can go from the pool and waves and transition to dinner out, the Aquamatic IV in blue is a great choice. On a rubber dive watchstrap, it can handle the rigors of the outdoors. AR sapphire glass, 200-meter water-resistance, SuperLuminova hands and markers, a non-wrist-digging 4 o’clock crown, and an easy-to-read date magnification window are prepared for action. Swap your board shorts for a linen suit, switch out the Aquamatic IV’s rubber strap for the stainless steel bracelet, and see how seamlessly the Aquamatic can pull double duty on your summer vacation.
Buy Now $575
Zodiac Super Sea Wolf Aquamarine Dream
There’s no question that the Super Sea Wolf is a legend. Now, it gets clad in a beautiful sea-foamy green that’s clearly inspired by the ocean. The watch gets a teal dial and bezel, along with minty inner track ring, hands, and markers. The 40mm case is the perfect size for just about any wrist, and it comes with a stainless steel bracelet and a matching teal rubber tropic strap. Flip the watch over, and you’ll see “I’d rather be swimming” on a teal caseback. We couldn’t agree more.
Buy Now $1,495
Seiko Prospex SNE549 PADI Special Edition
This Prospex solar diver is a tribute to the Professional Association of Diving Instructors, so you know it can get you through aquatic summer splashes without worry. The bright blue dial shimmers in the sunlight, and the LumiBrite hands and markers make underwater visibility a breeze. Its diving chops also come by way of a screwdown crown and caseback, unidirectional bezel, and 200-meter water-resistance. The red minute hand, red crown highlight, and the red chapter ring pips add some nice summer pops of color. Finally, your hours in the summer sun will juice it up via solar charging for 10 months of power.
Buy Now $395
AVI-8 Kent Automatic Sussex
The Sussex might be an aviation-inspired watch, but it has the right summer colors and laid-back style. The rich blue dial and accompanying suede strap look great together, while flashes of orange numerals, second hand, and date window mate perfectly. The vintage lumed hands and markers are properly sized for this 43mm case, and the Japanese Miyota automatic movement provides timekeeping duties. This one’s just as much ready for casual Fridays all summer long as it is catching up with the neighbors at a cookout over the July 4th weekend.
Buy Now $295
Timex Waterbury Ocean 42mm
The least expensive watch here might just be summer’s best no-worry watch. For less than a hundred bucks, you get a breezy timepiece that’s made with upcycled ocean plastic and colored in a speckly dark blue that’s so right for beach days, it’s freakin’ brilliant. 30-meters of water resistance is pool and ocean dip friendly, while the no-rush ethos means it oozes relaxation.
Buy Now $99
NTH Watches Thresher
While the Thresher’s 610-meter dive rating is pretty serious stuff, its bright white dial, cool blue hands and indices, and orange minute markers are nothing short of a perfect summer colorway. The big 43.75mm diameter case makes things very legible above and below the waves, and the curved and drilled lugs make wear comfy and strap swaps easy all summer long. Add in the Miyota automatic movement, 13mm thickness, and Tritec Swiss Superluminova, and you have the makings of premium summer timekeeper.
Buy Now $750
You can’t have a summer watch lineup without a G-Shock, the line of Casio watches that has become synonymous with toughness. In its new classic “Casioak” shape, this one gets the clear treatment for active warm weather days. The ana-digi screen is handsome, and it’s surrounded by clear resin with a rugged carbon core structure. 3-year battery life, 200-meter water resistance, and shock protection provide resilience no matter what your choice of summer recreation.
Buy Now $110
NOMOS Glashutte Ahoi Date Siren Blue
We saved the most stunning summer watch for last, and it’s a looker. The bright blue dial with modern Arabic numerals is a head-turner. The slim hands are rhodium-plated with SuperLuminova inlay in white and the small seconds hand in contrasting orange. The deep blue fabric strap is moisture-friendly, as is the 200-meter depth rating. Swap it out with the right leather strap, and you’re ready for a summer wedding.
Buy Now $4,660